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MBTA patron refuses to wear mask, hits transit police officer in face, officials say

People were assaulted in two other mask disputes this week in the Boston area

A 29-year-old Sturbridge man was arrested this week for allegedly striking a transit police officer at North Station after refusing to don a mask before getting on the MBTA, one in a series of rage incidents over face coverings reported in the Boston area.

MBTA Transit Police identified the Sturbridge man in a statement as Rutul Jaiswal.

Police were called to the North Station Commuter Rail around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday because Jaiswal had allegedly refused “to wear a mask while attempting to travel on the MBTA,” the statement said.

Officials tried to reason with Jaiswal but were unsuccessful, according to the statement.

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Jaiswal “refused to be reasoned with and rejected the officers requests to don a mask,” the statement said. “The officer was escorting Jaiswal out of the facility when suddenly Jaiswal struck the officer in the face.”

Jaiswal was placed into custody and taken back to Transit Police headquarters, where police learned he had open warrants out of Worcester District Court for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and trespassing.

Anger over masks surfaced again Thursday morning in Brookline, where a man was arrested at a Dunkin’ for allegedly tossing hot coffee at another customer who was not wearing a mask inside the store, police said.

Officers were called to the Dunkin’ at 8 Harvard St. shortly before 8:30 a.m. for a report of a customer “disturbing” the premises, Brookline police said in a statement.

“The suspect and the victim got into a verbal exchange regarding the victim not wearing a mask inside of the store,” the statement said. “The victim pulled his shirt over his face in an attempt to de-escalate the situation. The suspect then became belligerent toward store employees as well as other customers.”

While exiting the store, the man “threw his hot coffee in the direction of the victim striking the victim on the back of his lower legs,” the statement said.

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Police spotted the alleged assailant approximately two blocks away.

“Upon seeing officers, the suspect ran toward Route 9 where he was quickly apprehended by officers,” the statement said.

Police said the man, who wasn’t identified, was booked on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct. He was expected to be arraigned later Thursday in Brookline District Court, according to the statement.

The Brookline and North Station confrontations followed a mask dispute Sunday night in Boston’s North End that turned violent.

The general manager of the Regina Pizzeria was assaulted by a man who refused to wear a mask inside the restaurant, officials said.

A company spokesman confirmed that the victim was the restaurant’s general manager.

According to a Boston police report, an officer was dispatched to the pizzeria on Thacher Street and spoke to the victim, who said the man tried to enter the restaurant at 8:55 p.m. without a mask.

When told he needed to wear a mask inside, the suspect stated he was “from the neighborhood” and pushed his way in, then shoved the victim against the register and punched his left cheek, the report said. The suspect then fled down Margin Street, according to the report. No arrests have been made.

Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.